Thousands of visitors flocked to a Yorkshire Dales beauty spot to get a view of a famous family.
For the second year running, the Malham Cove peregrine falcons produced two chicks to enthral more than 21,000 people who used a special vantage point to get a close-up view of the family of raptors. Visitors are now being urged to sign an online petition against the persecution of birds of prey, which is still happening in many parts of Britain.
The appalling summer failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the visitors to Malham’s Falcon Watch viewpoint, including 6,000 children, who were able to use free telescopes to observe the family of falcons.
The scheme is run jointly by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
The authority’s species officer Ian Court said: “For the second year running the peregrines did their bit by fledging two young which, after the terrible weather and heavy rain this year, were named Splish and Splash.
“The newest arrivals are good news for the peregrine population in the Dales and the visitor numbers show just how interested people are in them.”
Matthew Capper, the RSPB’s people engagement officer, said: “The viewpoint is manned by a team of RSPB and national-park staff and volunteers and its success is down to their enthusiasm and drive.
“They put in the equivalent of nearly 400 volunteer days between them in all weathers, passing on their knowledge about the peregrines to the visitors.
“We would also like to thank the people of Malham for their support once again.
“Sadly, birds of prey such as peregrine falcons still face illegal persecution. This is an unacceptable situation and the RSPB is calling for an end to illegal killing of birds of prey,” he said.
grough readers can pledge their support for the campaign at the RSPB website.
The limestone cove is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and has 275 climbing routes up its 80m overhanging face. During the falcons’ nesting season, the British Mountaineering Council operates a voluntary ban on climbing routes which would disturb the peregrines.